3 Steps to Due Diligence
Under Work Health and Safety law, the officers of an organisation have a personal obligation to exercise “due diligence” to ensure health & safety compliance. This means that Owners, CEOs, Managing Directors, and/or other people who have the authority to make decisions that significantly affect the business, must actively seek out and act on information related to compliance.
In an article published in the Safety Institute of Australia’s “OHS Professional” (Dec 2013), well-known OHS Lawyer and member of the OHS Professional’s editorial board, Michael Tooma discussed the 3 steps an organisation should address to enable their officers to meet their legal duty.
Establishing a due diligence framework and Safety Management System
This is the processes and procedures that will not only define how the officers’ will meet their obligations but also how the organisation manages work health and safety. When discussing the management system requirements, Tooma stated it must be a “legally compliant documented safety management system”. He also recommends “saving time and money” through the use of integrated management systems, pointing out that environmental management systems are a natural fit with health and safety management systems.
Establish a safety performance reporting framework
As the legal obligation of due diligence includes officers considering incidents, hazards and risk, an organisation must include the recording, analysis and reporting of these in their management system. “Organisations also need to have an effective corporate governance structure and committees in place to enable a flow through of information so that it is considered at the right levels”, he wrote.
Conduct regular legal compliance audits
According to Tooma, “one of the most critical aspects of the due diligence obligation is the requirement for officers to ensure legal compliance”. He recommends a comprehensive safety audit program which includes compliance audits of the organisation’s health & safety management system annually. He also recommends the use of external audits every second year.
OSHEM Solutions have years of experience working with a range of clients in developing, implementing and auditing their health & safety, environmental or integrated management system, as well as conducting management system audits and legal compliance checks.
For an obligation free quote on how we can assist you in meeting your legal obligations, call us on 1300 657 279.